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brasilobserver - Sep 25 2015
Wagner Moura playing Pablo Escobar (Photo: Divulgation)

(Leia em Português)


By Ricardo Somera

“Have you seen Narcos?” is the question of the moment in (almost) all the circle of my friends. Since 28 August, the release date of the  Netflix series, we do not talk about anything else (that matters).

Here in Brazil the “big” question is the accent of Wagner Moura. Does he speak good castellano or not? What would you think if a Brazilian was played by another Latin American? (Who remembers the fiasco of Javier Barden in Eat, Pray, Love?) Much discussion, various opinions and one thing we are assured: Wagner Moura is amazing playing the most famous drug trafficker the planet has ever seen: Pablo Escobar.

Besides Wagner Moura, other Brazilians are part of the series. José Padilha (Elite Squad and Bus 174) is executive producer and director of the first episodes and André Mattos plays Jorge Ochoa, one of Pablo’s cartel members. Another Brazilian director, Fernando Coimbra (A Wolf at the Door), directs two of the best episodes of the season (You Will Cry Tears of Blood and La Gran Mentira). And we cannot forget Rodrigo Amarante, interpreter of the opening song of the series, “Tuyo”.

There is much excitement about the Brazilians, but the series is American, the narrator is American and was created by Americans (Chris Brancato, screenwriter of Hannibal, and Adam Fierro, of The Walking Dead).

Some things you only learn in Colombian history books or Narcos:

– Escobar’s Medellin Cartel smuggled 15 tons of cocaine a day to the United States.

– In 1989 Escobar was considered by Forbes magazine the 7th richest man in the world with a fortune valued at more than 25 billion dollars.

– Before his arrest Escobar built his own prison (sorry for the spoiler!).

– During a time when the drug lord had to stay hidden in a hut on the outskirts of a mountainous area of ​​Medellin, he burned about two million dollars in cash in order to keep his family warm.

– In addition to the 800 houses he also had 15 planes and six helicopters.

– Ninety-five percent of all the cocaine consumed in the United States is still produced in Colombia. Part of it is distributed by Brazil, the world’s second largest coca negotiator.

– In a statement released in September, FARC said that “drug trafficking is a socioeconomic problem generated by a capitalist model that currently produces more than 600 billion dollars a year.” Official estimates, however, say that the total amount of coca can be more than one trillion dollars.

Now, we expect the second season – already confirmed – and hope that all my excitement does not end up in dust.

Brasil Observer is a Brazilian newspaper published in London. Read issue 31.